With second place (and a return to the Champions League) sealed, Barcelona will be looking to close out the 2021-22 season at home on Sunday night (9:00pm UK) will minimal incident. However, their guests, Villarreal, will be looking to lock up La Liga’s seventh and final European spot.
How to live stream Barcelona vs Villarreal online:
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Where to watch Barcelona vs Villarreal on TV:
- UK: Bet365 (see above)
- US: ESPN+
Barcelona team news
It’s absolutely not felt like it at times, but this Barcelona season has been a success.
If, when this club was at a time horrific depths in the final weeks of 2021, you’d offered up a second place finish, the financial wherewithal to make a €55 million signing in January (with the prospect of major additions over the summer), with Xavi manning the dugout and Ansu Fati back healthy and regaining his legs, there’s not a club employee or fan that wouldn’t have jumped at the proposition.
Sure, there have been some rather significant lows – the unceremonious end of the Koeman era, getting thoroughly outclassed twice by Bayern Munich in the Champions League, failing to qualify from said Champions League group, a hammering at home from Eintracht Frankfurt to eliminate them from the Europa League, inexplicable dropped points against mid- and lower-table sides… it bears repeating, however. Barcelona, a club in full-blown crisis and looking up at La Liga’s top four just six months ago, will finish second in the league, and enter next season once again a Champions League group stage participant, with an outstanding young core and a deep and prolific attack (potentially about to get deeper and more prolific), playing the style of football that their fans crave. That’s not bad.
Why all of this talk about what’s been and what’s to come in a match preview?
Because, at stake for Barça in the season finale is… well… basically nothing. Certainly, the side will try for a positive result, and individual players – most notably Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (who’s a decent shout to score the first goal on Sunday) and aforementioned €55 million signing Ferran Torres, who’ struggled to win over the Barça faithful since his arrival in January – will certainly bring some intensity.
However, the main objective for Barça at Camp Nou on Sunday will be to navigate 90 minutes without picking up any new injuries or re-aggravating any existing ones.
Barcelona predicted XI: Ter Stegen; Alves, Mingueza, Lenglet, Alba; Gavi, Busquets, De Jong; Dembélé, Aubameyang, Torres
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Villarreal team news
Villarreal, meanwhile, have just wrapped up the most spectacular calendar year in club history. Until Thursday night, they were the reigning Europa League champions and had parlayed the Champions League berth that came with their Europa triumph into a truly unbelievable run to the semifinals.
However, since their first leg defeat to Liverpool at Anfield, Villarreal have struggled, taking just four of the last 12 possible points in La Liga. They enter this final match day sitting in seventh, and in possession of La Liga’s lone Europa Conference League berth. However their recent struggles have allowed Athletic Club de Bilbao to make up ground, and pull to within a single point.
As Athletic Club holds the tiebreaker based on head-to-head results, Villarreal must match the Basque sides result to ensure another year of European football. In the simplest of terms: a victory at Camp Nou on Sunday will secure seventh for the Yellow Submarine, while a draw would put the onus on Bilbao to win its finale, also on Sunday night, in Sevilla.
The good news for Villarreal is that they come in with a fairly clean bill of health and ample motivation , and are faced with a Barça side that, again, has nothing to play for, and shipped the odd goal or two and dropped the odd point or two even when the stakes were high. All that could well be enough to secure at least a point.
Villarreal predicted XI: Rulli; Aurier, Albiol, Torres, Estupiñán; Coquelin, Capoue, Parejo; Chukwueze, Dia, Lo Celso
La Liga 2021/22 recent form:
- Barcelona: LWWWD
- Villarreal: WLDWL
Scoreline prediction: Barcelona 1-1 Villarreal
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